The celebration of Christmas was the first activity apprehended under this project. It was a one-day activity held at Nishtar Hall, Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 31, 2018. Senior Minister Mr. Atif Khan was the chief guest of the event accompanied by Government officials including; MPA Ravi Kumar, Wazir Zada, Bishop Humphrey, media officials, and religious clergies. More than 500 participants from the Christian community participated in the activity.
The scope of the event in terms of participation was not limited to men only, women were equally part of the event. Moreover, cash prizes were distributed among the performers and were encouraged for future participation. Moreover, Performers from the minority community entertained the attendees and the guests with different entertainment activities on the theme of patriotism and unity among the people of Pakistan. It resulted in promoting the preservation of Minority culture and their successful engagement in recreational activities.
The chief guest, religious clergies and minority MPA’s were welcomed by the organizing team and were presented with the bouquets. On this occasion, the chief guest, Mr. Atif Khan inaugurated the event by cutting the ribbon in the presence of MPA Ravi Kumar, Secretory AHRAMA Hidayat Jaan, and Deputy Secretory AHRAMA Nasir Khan. All the participants were welcomed, the national anthem was sung and the event started with a welcome note to Chief Guest Mr. Atif Khan, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Sports, Archeology and Youth Affairs. He appreciated the efforts of organizing teams as well as the executing partners. On the occasion, Atif Khan emphasized the teachings of Islam that promotes respect for other religions, it gives us a message of tolerance and love. He urged people of all faiths to stand united against intolerance and extremism across the globe. “We want to communicate the world that Pakistan is safe and people from all faiths can practice and celebrate religion without any fear and discrimination. Atif Khan announced that this year the government will assure to allocate a quota for minorities and youth to provide them the opportunity of starting their own business through a special grant. He further maintained that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will strive for the empowerment, excellence, and rights of minorities in this region, He concluded the speech by saying that ‘If we stand united, only then can Pakistan flourish and prosper”.
Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters said the festival sets the tone for Christmas and the people here represent peace, hope, and love for future. Peace, hope, and love for future. He extended his special thanks to the department AHRAMA for initiating such an event. “The Christian community feels safe and secure in this region”, he said, adding that this day symbolizes love and harmony among all of us. “I am pleased to see our Muslim brothers standing with us to share our happiness and showed love & affection towards us”, he said.
In this regard, the secretary of AHRAMA Hidayat Jan stated that they have allocated budget for religious festivals of minorities of KP. He also revealed that students exchange programs are also part of the ongoing activities. MPA Wazir Zada said that the current government is working on the rehabilitation of graveyards of minorities. He further stated that the government is also paying heed on increasing the job quota of minorities in government departments. MPA Ravi Kumar thanked the Prime Minister for giving the nation a privilege to embrace other religions. “The PTI government’s mandate is to stand united in peace and harmony,” he said.
In order to provide full entertainment to the attendees, different activities were held which includes; Christmas Carols, Santa Clause entry on stage, Christmas Drama & skits on the theme of patriotism, unity & harmony.
District Wise Detail Summary of Participants of “Christmas”
|Sr.No.||Province||No. of Participants|
|9.||Tribal District Khyber, Jamrud||10|
|11.||Govt Officials, Guests, Advisory Committee, Security Officials, Media Officials, Management Team, Production Teams, Volunteers, Performers, Nishtar Hall Security, Vendors, Department Officials.||250|